Shortstop has hard-hitting night to remember as Grafton pummels Port in NSC finale
GRAFTON’S C.J. KOEHLER delivered a pitch during a 19-8 win over Port Washington last Friday. Koehler worked the first three innings of the game, which was the North Shore Conference finale for both teams.
Photo by Sam ArendtAfter slipping into a five-game losing skid during an up-and-down season, the Grafton High School baseball team found itself badly in need of an offensive energizer last week.
Enter Robbie Doring.
The junior shortstop powered the Black Hawks to a 19-8 win over Port Washington on Friday with a career-best night at the plate.
Doring, who’s not known for his long-ball skills, hit two homers, drove in five runs and scored three times in a 3-for-4 performance. The blitz was part of a 17-hit attack in a five-inning, North Shore Conference win that left Grafton coach Brian Durst
“We put together the best offensive lineup we could without compromising our defensive integrity,” said Durst, whose team won its second straight game and finished NSC play at 8-10.
“It was nice to get on a roll after having struggling the last few games.”
Grafton’s victory — in the league finale for both teams — was its second high-scoring win over the Pirates this season. On May 31, the Hawks defeated Port, 14-7.
The rematch was even more one-sided. Grafton jumped ahead, 5-0, in the first inning and kept on going, stretching the lead to 14-3 in the top of the third.
The Pirates (3-15) generated plenty of offense by scoring in each of the first four innings and eventually pulled within 14-8. But the Hawks settled the slugfest with another five-run outburst in the final frame before the game was called on the mercy rule.
Grafton posted single-game season highs for runs and hits, doing all the damage against Port starter Nick Godersky and reliever Kyle Pallo.
“We were shorthanded with pitching to start, and they jumped on Nick right away,” Port coach Jeff Dornburg said.
“He had to go the first three innings because we didn’t have anyone else to use. They hit the ball well against us.”
Doring was the winner in a race for Grafton slugging honors. His run production came on a two-run homer in the third and a three-run shot in the fifth.
The Hawks had plenty of other standouts, as well. Kevin Scholz went 4-for-4, B.J. Weisflog was 3-for-5, and Ryan Hartwig and Beau Benzschawel each had two hits.
Benzschawel’s key blow was a three-run triple in the second inning.
Alex Nennig also cracked a two-run homer in the first, when Port helped the Hawks by committing three errors.
“We came out focused and didn’t let up,” Durst said. “It was good to see. It’s what we talked about doing in each game the rest of the season.”
Despite struggling on the mound and in the field, the Pirates had success at the plate. They collected 13 hits off three pitchers, including starter C.J. Koehler, who worked the first three innings.
Leading Port were 3-for-4 efforts from Chase Hollander and Kiley Prellwitz. Hollander, a junior, had two doubles and two RBI and scored twice.
Grafton 5, Slinger 1
The Hawks trailed, 1-0, after three innings but moved ahead to stay with a two-run fourth in a conference home win that snapped a five-game losing streak July 7.
Freshman Nate Lukas pitched the first six innings for his first varsity win. The left-hander struck out five and walked two before giving way to Ryan Schmitt for the final frame.
“Nate did an excellent job,” Durst said. “He threw strikes, and our defense made the plays behind him.”
Grafton took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a run-scoring groundout by Eric Moeller and RBI single by Tim Grams.
In the fifth, the margin grew to 4-1 on a sacrifice fly by Nennig and RBI single by Moeller.
Koehler’s sacrifice fly in the sixth capped the scoring.
Grams and Weisflog each went 2-for-3.
Germantown 3, Grafton 1
Brian Keller got the best of the Black Hawks in a pitchers’ duel with Koehler on July 5.
Keller allowed only one hit, a infield single by Scholz in the top of the second inning, when Grafton took a 1-0 lead.
With one out, Benzschawel was hit by a pitch, and Scholz reached. Moeller then grounded into a force play, but a throwing error allowed a run to score.
Koehler allowed only five hits in a complete-game effort. However, Germantown scored once in the fourth and added two runs in the sixth on an error and wild pitch.
Keller struck out six and walked none. Koehler had four strikeouts and two walks.
Grafton will conclude its regular-season schedule this week with two nonconference games — 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Elkhart Lake and 5:30 p.m. Friday at home against Howards Grove.
The Hawks will open WIAA tournament play July 19 against Homestead.